Today, I pulled out my writing journal and began listing all the books I wanted to write someday. Let me tell you - it was a LONG list! There was a list for each genre, and then a list for each subgenre. There was even a list specifically for crossovers.
At first it felt discouraging. Could I ever get around to all those book ideas? Writing a book takes so long. I'd run out of time before I was even halfway down the list if I kept up the pace I'd been keeping. But then, I realized something.
What I had sitting in front of me wasn't a prison. A chain binding me to a life of scurrying to meet deadlines so I could fit in all the books I wanted to write before I die.
It was a map. A map to an incredible world that only I get to travel through. A beckoning to an adventure that only I, as the writer, can experience. Yes, there are those dreaded deadlines. And yes, I'll probably have to write from duty rather than passion quite a few days each month. Or week. But every job has some element of actual work to it. Isn't that why they call it "work" after all?
Except that, instead of sitting in a cubicle doing mindless work on someone else's pet project, or exhausting myself daily to build someone else's dream...I'd be sitting on a couch preparing my projects. And exhausting myself on a dream that I've had since I was a kid, one that belongs to me.
That list of book ideas reminded me that writing is a journey, not an event. My success isn't defined by how many books I write, or if I get all the ones written that I want. That list is a glimpse into my future as a writer. It's a layout of what my career could potentially look like. It all depends on whether or not I'm willing to get to work on the project in front of me and be patient in waiting for the rest.
The next time you look at all the books you want to write and start feeling a little panicked because you may never get around to all of them - just breathe. Remember, having too many ideas is a blessing, not a curse. If you keep at it and never quit, someday you'll write those books. All of them. Just never give up.